Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Biblical Reliability - I Sum Up

Okay, kudos to whomever identifies the movie alluded to in the post title. It's one of my favorite romantic comedies (shhhh...don't blow my "tough guy" image by spreading around the notion that I like romantic comedies.)

Over lo these many days I've laid out a number of arguments I hope show that believing the Bible is historically true is a rational position to hold. I have not talked much about the theological accuracy of scripture, though I think most readers would know where I stand. That is a discussion for a different day, although the historicity and reliability certainly play a part there as well. Nor am I discounting the need for faith. Even interpreting the evidence as I have done is a matter of some faith - I have to take the words of ancient authors for things I have not myself seen.

Finally, then, I'd like to "sum up" by touching on an area where application of the rational belief that the Bible is historically accurate is vital: the believability of the historical event known as the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Christianity is a religion built around one event, without which the sect of Jesus' followers would have drifted into obscurity. That one event, though, explains very well how a bunch of men who hid immediately following Jesus' crucifixion into a bold brotherhood who founded the church in the face of persecution and martyrdom. Without the resurrection, there is no reason to hold to Christianity. Paul himself says this in I Corinthians: Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.
But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

There are easier religions, and a few without the historical baggage of events like the inquisition, the crusades and the Salem witch trials (overhyped as they may be by Christianity's critics, these were certainly times of atrocious behavior by those claiming our Lord's name.) It is also a religion that relies on a promise, one which cannot be honored if the resurrection did not happen. If Jesus is not alive, we have no hope of Heaven no matter what we believe in this life. We are really to be pitied more than all men.

But the Bible shows evidence of being a historically accurate book. You do not need to rely on faith despite a lack of evidence. Rather, you can rely on the truth of the Bible through faith and reason. The Bible is trustworthy in other matters of history, ergo it is not a stretch to believe it accurate in this most important matter. Christ is risen, and this is the reason for our hope. Not that He was a man who died, yet left a legacy of nice teachings and alleged miracles. No, He died, yet was raised so that we may live forever through His atoning work on the cross. You need not fear a need to check your brain at the door to come to this conclusion.

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